After 'To Joanna' - Poem by Douglas Scotney
In his company Joanna laughed:
Clear she thought that he was daft
When he heard the mountains laughing
In his ravishment of mind.
Now the vicar who'd upbraided him
For carving in the rock
Upon whose meditation
The ravishment occurred,
Instead of laughing loudly
At his loftiness of word,
Smiled and looked astonished
Thinking, 'Jackass of a bird.'
Realising that he'd lost him
The poet came to earth,
Told the vicar in plain language
Of Joanna's certain anguish
As she drew into his side
For fear of something that she heard
But to which could put no word.
'Now she's gone back to the city,
I miss her laughter, that's the pity.
That's why 'JOANNA'S ROCK'
Is what he's chiseled',
This jackass of a bird.'
I wrote this in October-November 2011 mainly in my bed in Adelaide
after reading Wordsworth's
'To Joanna'. The thought about the jackass (kookaburra) I put into
the mind of the vicar comes from an
experience in which I was camping with a friend. Our tent blew in on us one
night and we couldn't be bothered getting out to re-erect it. Instead my friend
laughed hysterically all night. Next morning I overheard the man in the
nearby caravan muttering that if he'd had an axe he'd have killed that
laughing jackass last night.
My friend was like the poet, I was like Joanna, amused by rapture, and
the guy in the caravan was the vicar.
The humour in Wordsworth is directed at ignorance. (not at ignorance-at intolerance-31.5.13)
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